Gemma Lacey

A tourists guide to dealing with British Lads from a British Lady.

Gemma Lacey
A tourists guide to dealing with British Lads from a British Lady.
GB.-England.-Dorset.-From-West-Bay.-1996.-©-Martin-Parr-Magnum-Photos-1024x682.jpg

British lad culture has become, over the years, something of a subculture. Certainly, a
group of British lads abroad are hard to miss. Their reputation is, to say the least,
unsavory, having long been known to shun their emotions for masculinity, tribalism
and, of course, drinking. Given their unavoidable and un-ignorable nature, here are five
key tips for dealing with British lads, whether you’re visiting the UK or you happen upon
them abroad.

1. DAY DRINKING: GET STUCK IN OR AVOID

If you’re from the continent you probably think of day drinking as a civilized affair,
consisting of one or two glasses and then carefully screwing the cork back into a
thoughtfully chosen, fully appreciated bottle of the finest. But Brits don’t have that kind
of a palette or a cork to hand. Once they’re a pint down, expect the booze to flow until
livers are weary, white cheeks are flushed red and pubs are ringing bells for last orders.
If you’re happening upon these lads in Playa d’en Bossa or somewhere that doesn’t shut
down at midnight… beware! Even the ones celebrating the run-up to matrimony treat
such minibreaks as a wistful salute to their halcyon days of drinking.

2. LAD BANTER: DO NOT DISMISS IT

British lad banter (like any lad banter) is well known for spiraling from funny to totally
inappropriate. Their penchant for nicknaming everything and everyone can fall on
offensive, their tendency to tease can turn to insulting and their sense of humour is
often contrary to all liberal ‘isms’. The British way has long been to laugh it off
dismissively, but don’t! If called out on it, they will almost always become immediately
apologetic, and grovel to you, in a truly British manner!

3. ACCEPTING DRINKS: THE SMELL TEST

Don’t accept a drink until you’ve had a good whiff, as there’s a strong chance that it’s
some form of bodily fluid. This may sound beyond belief, but it happens far too often
not to mention. After all, they’ve probably had to drink far worse at some university
sport’s team initiation ceremony, so they’ll be thinking, what’s the big deal? If you’re
really thirsty, Jägermeister is your safest bet, as they wouldn’t dare soil their elixir. If a
suspect liquid gets chucked into the crowd at a festival or gig, there’s nothing you can
do, so just keep telling yourself and your friends that it’s only a bit of beer… and then get
straight into the shower, when you’re home!

4. FLIRTING: DON’T EXPECT A FAIRYTALE

Here’s the thing about British lads: their pick up skills are, at best, clumsy, at worst,
hopeless. Throughout history, Brits have been taught to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’,
which means absolutely no expression of emotions. This makes for men who are shy,
awkward, or, on the flip side, overly aggressive in their flirting. My advice if you’re trying
to flirt with a British lad is to take the lead. If you play it too cool, they won’t really
understand and will assume you’re not into them, at which point most will walk away
for fear of wounded pride.

5. GET TO KNOW THE LAD

It’s easy to pigeonhole these lads and to think of them all as one figurehead of a badly
fronted subculture, but in reality, they are just people. If you catch one of them outside
of a boozing, chanting, razzing scenario, get to know him. He might not be all that bad.